By Dillan Mitchell
Dillan and his wife Hannah met in Columbia, MO and moved to Kansas City, MO in March of 2020, where they now live with their dog, Como. Dillan is a Culture Coordinator for VU’s Lenexa Office and some of his passions include music, disc golf, FC Barcelona, all things Kansas City sports, all things Kansas City food, and serving people.
Waiting…is not a class you can sign up for. It’s not something that is often celebrated. It’s not something that looks flashy or draws praise. It’s not something that our culture acknowledges as important, and it is rarely a tangible thing you can quantify. But it is something that is of absolute necessity in a life of faith.
The church my wife and I are a part of in Raytown, MO is such a special and unique place. If everyone in the church showed up on a Sunday, there’d be maybe 175-200 people present. Even in this small church, there is such a wide range of personalities and ideals and (honestly) opinions, and I love that our pastors celebrate that. It’s a place that my wife and I continue to be a part of because it is our family. It has become our home.
As we were heading into our Advent series in December, one of our pastors, Tisha, had a beautiful idea of what to preach on. She preached in the month of December about LABOR. And to be specific, the labor of child-birth. There are many references throughout Scripture of the idea of labor and in all honesty, I’ve heard a lot of them throughout my life. However, that certainly does not mean that I understand for a second what this labor looks like, feels like, or puts an individual through. It simply amazes me and carries this weight of severity to it. In other words, LABOR IS NO JOKE.
Now, one thing that is a large part of my life outside of work is music. I am a songwriter, I play a handful of instruments, and I enjoy singing (even if some people don’t enjoy listening). One of the ways I serve our church is to be on our worship team. I simply love it, and it gives me such life. Our worship team at church was asked if we could write a song for this Advent series, and I won’t lie, the idea of me, a man who has no idea what child-birth is like, would attempt to write a song that is primarily talking about labor? Well, let’s just say there was an audible and slightly awkward laugh in the room.
My question quickly became… “What would I have in common with a pregnant woman from over 2,000 years ago that would also resonate with people today, all in the context of a worship song?” Almost immediately I knew the answer. Waiting.
Waiting is something that I, along with many of you, have become increasingly familiar with over the last two years. My wife and I moved from Columbia to Kansas City in March of 2020. Yes, you are right. That in fact IS the month the world blew up and forced everyone inside. This is when my waiting began. Waiting to meet new people. Waiting to find a new church home. Waiting to make friends. Waiting to explore our new city. Waiting to find sanity again. Waiting for my newly discovered depression to cease. Waiting to hear God’s voice again. Waiting for any direction in my life. Waiting became the most overbearing and hard-hitting reality in my life… and it was a daily occurrence. And it lasted nearly two years.
I am incredibly grateful that Veterans United continued to allow me to work from home during these past two years. My wife had an incredible job opportunity we couldn’t pass up, and VU allowed me to continue my job, just in a remote setting. Though this proved to be crucial, providential, and to be an incredible gift, it also proved to be very difficult for me. If there’s one thing that became incredibly obvious to me over that time, it’s that I NEED PEOPLE. I needed the energy of other individuals, striving after different, but similar goals. I needed the VU Culture. I needed the human interaction. I needed the camaraderie and the simple gift of seeing someone familiar and chatting with them. I needed these things, and not knowing what to do about it, I kept waiting.
I’m sure it will come as no surprise to you, the reader, that the title of the song we ended up with was simply called, “Waiting.” I won’t post the entire song, but there’s one line that I really want to emphasize from the song that is really at the heart of it all. The line goes like this:
“We welcome the newborn King and we praise Thee. You were worth every second of waiting.”
Worth every second. I can’t help but think of John 16:21, and wonder if in that moment after Jesus was born, did Mary think, “You were worth it.” I can’t help but think of Simeon in Luke 2, and wonder if after his long life of waiting to meet the promised Messiah, did he think, “You were worth it.” I’m wondering if after the 400 years of silence the people of God went through, when the faint cries of a newborn child filled the night air, did anyone think, “You were worth it.” Even now, as children of God around the world try to faithfully pursue and serve our Savior in the midst of a tired, distracted, and hurting world, do we stop and remind ourselves, “He is worth it.”
We are all waiting. To use a phrase used by one of my favorite bands, “Citizens,” we live in this day and age of, “Already / Not Yet.” We already have this answer to our innermost longings. His name is Jesus. But we have not yet seen this answer face to face. We wait for Jesus. And yes, we can all acknowledge that this day and age we have been struggling through has been hard. So hard. In this moment, we can thank God that He has already given us this hope. His name is Jesus. And we can look forward into the future, knowing that someday the fullness of love and grace, which has not yet come, will indeed come. We wait for Jesus.
And as I write this from my new desk, working in the Lenexa office, I’m thankful for every person I see walk by my door. I’m thankful that they are here, and that I am here. And I’m thankful that for me, this was an instance where waiting was incredibly hard… but so worth it. If you are in a time of intense waiting, let me just encourage you that I know how it feels. And let me just say that I’m thankful I had someone encouraging me along the way who had also experienced that process. And if you’re in a place where you have come out of a difficult time of waiting, let me remind you there is always someone who you can encourage and serve. In one way or another, we are all waiting. So, let’s wait together. Let’s be reminded of the words of Micah 7:7 which say, “But as for me, I will look to the Lord. I will wait for the God of my salvation, my God will hear me.” Even in the waiting, He is with us there.